Quick update on my pull up routine. I can now do 4 wide-grip pull ups. Woo-hoo! Considering I couldn’t even hold my weight up a year ago, that’s huge news. So here’s a quick run down of what I’m doing. Back in January during my free personal training session, my trainer told me that to do pull ups, I need to practice them every day. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. (I’ve been doing them 5 or 6 days a week. Basically, every time I’m at the gym.)
I started off with 1 rep. I practiced just hoisting myself up and holding my chin up above the bar. First for 5 seconds (and then I’d slowly lower my body down). Then 10 seconds. Gradually I built it up to 15 seconds. And then suddenly I was able to do 2 consecutive pull ups. So I’d do 2 pull ups and on the second one I’d hold my weight up for as long as I could. Repeat cycle.
Currently, I’m doing 4 pull ups before starting my workout. My 4th pull up is usually a struggle, but once I reach the top, I hold my weight up for as long as I can. Right now that’s about 5 seconds. After that, I start my workout routine (be it shoulders, chest, etc.) After a few exercises, I return to the pull up bar to do another 3 reps. And this time on the third rep I’ll hold my weight up. In all, I do 3 sets spread throughout my workout. Ultimate goal — 12 consecutive wide-grip pull ups.
As much as I love talking about my workouts, from time to time I will talk about what I eat. These past few days I’ve been very selective with what I eat. I’ve mentioned before that I juice about 6x week. I’m shortening that to 5x week. The two days I don’t juice I try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies. (I actually shoot for that everyday, but more so when I don’t juice.) Here’s the rundown of what I’m doing:
*Juicing 5x week
*Eating min. of 5 servings of fruits/veggies per day
*Eating an apple or Asian pear once a day
*Eating plenty of fresh blueberries
*Eating Greek yogurt w/ walnuts after my workouts (both cardio and weight workouts)
*Eating fish (especially salmon) at least 3x week
*Cooking only w/ extra virgin olive oil
*Eating about 4 avocados per week
*Eating lots of green/leafy veggies along with colorful veggies (like beets)
*Drinking water only!
*Avoiding red meat / poultry / pig / eggs
*Eating lots of black beans and chick peas
*Eating broccoli (not juicing it) at least 2x week
*Looking at nutritional labels before buying food (esp looking at sodium count)
*Buying fruit/veggies that look fresh and are either local or organic
*Making sure I eat a good variety of fruits/veggies
*Hitting the steam room 6x week
One other thing I’ve done in the past year is limit the amount of hard liquor I drink. I don’t care if it’s a 20-year old whisky, I’d rather drink red wine than hard liquor. I haven’t eliminated hard liquor completely (maybe once a month I’ll have that whisky), but like I said — I’m trying to eliminate it as much as possible. Red wine I’ll have maybe once or twice a week.
I’ve been following this diet for at least 6 months and I feel really great. I wouldn’t even call it a diet, it’s more a lifestyle that I’m leading and while this is my personal/customized nutrition plan, I highly recommend one or any of these tips for your own nutritional plan. It’s not cheap (I try to keep costs down by buying seasonal produce), but it makes me feel great, and there’s no price on that feeling.
I finally switched up my workout routine at the gym. I’ve moved on from doing super slow drop sets to doing super slow sets that increase in weight. Here’s an example from my workout today:
Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly
10 reps at 100 lbs
10 reps at 100 lbs
8 reps at 120 lbs
8 reps at 120 lbs
I could have gone heavier, but I want to maintain 100% control of the weights while doing these exercises. My next routine (while I’ll probably start in May), will focus on heavy weights. And then I’ll just repeat the entire process. I must say, I feel great. This weekend I got a great back and chest workout and I just feel very healthy and strong overall. It’s a great feeling. Saturday I even hit the abs! Hoping to find an ab routine I can stick to. As far as pull ups, I’ve been doing t hem pretty much every day (every day I workout, which is 5x/week) since my trainer session.
Last week my girlfriend got me a gift certificate for Suburban Organics. Suburban Organics delivers organic fruits and veggies straight to your door on a weekly, bi-weekly, etc. basis. (They only deliver to the tri-state area within New York.) Each week you log onto your account to see that week’s menu and you’re allowed to make up to 5 substitutions. So if, for example, you hate onions and that particular week onions are included in your box, you can substitute them for something else. I like eating healthy so this gift was perfect for me.
I quickly set up my account (you’ll need a credit card) and last Thursday I received my first shipment (I opted for the smallest package called the “little box”). The Little Box costs $25 (shipping included) and is described on SU’s site as the “perfect starter box for the single cook, roommates, or a couple.” I would agree with the single part, but for a couple, it’s a tad too little in my opinion. Anyway, my box included 4 bananas, a head of garlic, 2 kiwi, 2 apples, 2 danjou pears, 1 avocado, half a head of red leaf lettuce, a bunch of carrots, and a bunch of broccoli. The produce is wrapped in a clear plastic bag and shipped in a brown box. (I have a doorman, so delivery was not an issue for me.) The good news is that everything looked and tasted great. The kiwi was delicious and sweet, the avocado arrived ripe and ready to eat, the broccoli was nice and purplish in color, and the bananas were thin, but sweet. As far as quality, I give SU a perfect score.
This week I decided to do a taste test so I got some kiwi from my local Whole Foods and believe it or not, but Whole Foods’ “Italian” kiwi was nowhere near as tasty as SU’s California kiwi. Whole Foods’ kiwi was actually a bit bitter. I noticed that Whole Foods also sells braeburn apples and danjou pears, but I wasn’t able to do a direct price comparison because SU doesn’t always tell you what each item in your box costs. They do, however, list weekly specials which you can add to your box for an additional cost. This week blueberries were the special item. SU sells 6 oz. of blueberries for $2.99. Whole Foods sells 16 oz. of blueberries for $4.50. I realize SU must factor in the cost of shipping, but if Whole Foods’ blueberries are also organic, then SU isn’t really saving me money now is it?
And that brings me to my only gripe with SU. I can’t tell if it’s saving me money or not. Granted, SU doesn’t claim to be a money-saving service, but in today’s economy, I don’t want to spend more money than I need to. My Little Box didn’t last me a full week and Saturday afternoon I found myself back at Whole Foods shopping for more apples and some produce (such as celery) that wasn’t included in my box. My second SU box arrives tomorrow and this time around I’ll try to do a better price comparison.
I read this interesting article on Runner’s World today about what you should eat after you run. Back in the day, my trainer would tell me to eat light — something along the lines of a fruit salad. Nothing heavier than that. Perhaps at the time that advice was appropriate for me, but now that I have a marathon and lots of mileage behind me, it’s time I switch that up. A few of the meals the editors at Runner’s World recommend:
After a 45-minute run
Freeze a fruit and yogurt smoothie and take it out to defrost before your run. The trick is to get both carbs and protein.
After a short run
High-fiber foods such as nuts or a plain bagel.
If you run just before going to bed
Try graham crackers with peanut butter and a bowl of berries. You don’t want to overdo it since you’ll be in bed shortly.
I increased my push up count by 5 this week. I can now do 40 consecutive push ups. I’m also at 3 consecutive wide grip pull ups. Not bad, huh! Slowly, but definitely getting there. I have noticed one odd thing though. When doing that last pull up, I feel that I use my right arm/side more so than my left side — to the point where I can see the right side of my body rise faster than my left. Not sure how to rectify this other than to make sure I pull equally with both sides.
In other news, it’s almost time to ditch the super slow workouts. I know I said I would drop them awhile back, but to be honest it’s been hard letting go. I really enjoy them. The question is what routine will I do next. Heavy with low reps? Or moderately heavy with slow reps? I’m leaning toward the latter.